Monday, January 22, 2007

A country's troubled past - Turkey

An artcile in the Christian Science Monitor did not surprise me. Follow the link here. Having been exposed to Turkey through my colelagues in the PhD program at Penn State, I had earlier been surprised about how progressive and modern this country really is. However, the death of the outspoken journalist made me dig a little deep and I was surprised that Turkey has a lot of skeletons in its closet! I mean it literally. The Armenian Genocide, that is supposed to have occured under the Ottoman regime in 1915 is supposed to have wiped out over a million Armenians, and has been recognized as an official genocide by a number of countries. Turkey, however maintains that it was not a genocide but an internal strife. Hitler is said to have gained some insights from this genocide, probably the first in the last century.

Germany, probably commited a crime, greater in proportion, but at least faces its vicious past bravely. Although symbolic, German law punsihes individuals who deny the holocaust. It takes great courage to own up to own's mistakes - even for a country. Turkey, in contrary, denies its past mistakes, has seen violent times in the 70's and the 80's and somehow puts forward a modernistic face to the world community.

I do not deny that Turkish culture might have been modernized and is liberal compared to a number of middle-eastern states. However, the first step towards a truly liberal future has to begun by acknowledging one's troubled past.

Having seen my friends, I really believe that Turkey hs the necessary institutions, poeople and the will to achive this transitition truly. I look forward to that change. We are with you Turkey !

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